Watching a loved one go from robust and strong to almost helpless is like watching a vibrant flower slowly fade away. The things they did that they took for granted are suddenly the realms of a caregiver.  It is not hard to be a caregiver when it is someone you love, but it is taxing, mentally and physically. You have to draw on strength you didn’t know you had and protect yourself from physical exhaustion lest you are not able to be there for them.  It’s so easy to want to help them do what they cannot seem to do, yet stand back and allow them the dignity of doing as much as they can for themselves.  Such is the time my husband and I found ourselves in.  After abdominal surgery he is just not bouncing back. He turned 91 a week ago and for a while allowed depression to convince him he’d never lead a normal life again. A man who traveled all over the world with the Navy, saved a destroyer with 287 men aboard while fighting a typhoon for two days, played a great game of tennis, loved to fish – mostly Alaska, and at one time could outrun a mountain goat up a trail.  If I could infuse strength into him I would gladly do it. If I could once again see the  delight on his face as he reeled in a  silver salmon,  it would please me greatly.  Those days are past.  We run at life full speed ahead, feeling at the time that we are invincible. Then suddenly we are looking down the corridor of years and wondering where the time went. Did we accomplish all we wanted to do? Maybe not, but life was full and interesting and we gave no thought to the future. Now, long afternoons replace the activity and I watch him sleep, letting the quiet hours slide into memories.